Sunday, July 26, 2009

1976 Topps #155 - Jack Billingham

  • Jack Billingham pitched for five teams from 1968-1980. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1961. Jack pitched in the minors from 1961-1967, mostly as a reliever. He finally got his shot in 1968 and had a 3-0 record with a 2.17 ERA and eight saves in 50 games for the Dodgers. After the 1968 season Billingham was selected by the Montreal Expos in the expansion draft. He was traded to the Houston Astros before the 1969 season. He was one of the players sent to Houston in place of Donn Clendennon, who had refused to report to Houston in the original trde.
  • In 1969 Billingham was used mostly as a reliever (four starts in 52 games) and was 6-7 with an ERA of 4.25. He started more games in 1970 (24 starts in 46 games) and was 13-9 with a 3.98 ERA. Jack went into the starting rotation in 1972 and was 10-16 with a 3.39 ERA in 33 starts.
  • After the 1971 season Billingham was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in a lopsided trade that netted the Reds Joe Morgan and center fielder Cesar Geronimo (along with Dennis Menke and Ed Armbrister) for Lee May, Tommy Helms, and Jimmy Stewart. In his first season with the Reds, Jack went 12-12 with a 3.18 ERA in 31 starts.
  • Jack had his best season in 1973. He went 19=10 with a 3.04 ERA in 40 starts. He was selected to his only NL All Star team and finished 4th in Cy Young Award voting. Billingham was 19-11 in 1974 and finished 6th in Cy Young Award voting. He gave up Hank Aaron's 714th home run on April 4.
  • Jack had a nice 15-10 season for the World Champion Reds in 1975. His workload started to decrease in 1976 as he had only 177 innings pitched. He went 12-10 and won game 2 of the World Series in relief of Fred Norman. (By the shows the games as being played at Cinergy Field. The games were actually played at Riverfront Stadium. How can that be corrected?)
  • Billingham's last season with the Reds was in 1977. He slipped to a 10-10 record with a 5.23 ERA in 23 starts. After the season he was traded to the Detroit Tigers for John Valle (minors) and George Cappuzzello. Jack had a good year for the Tigers in 1978 (15-8, 3.88 in 30 starts). He started only 19 games (35 total games) in 1979 and was 10-7 with a 3.30 ERA.
  • The 1980 season was Billingham's last year. He started with the Tigers but was ineffective (0-0, 7.36 in eight games). He was dealt to the Boston Red Sox in a conditional deal on May 12. Jack was 1-3 with a 11.10 ERA in seven games (4 starts) and was released on June 21.

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